Save Money By Improving Water Usage!

Nobody likes cold showers, particularly early in the morning. Take the following steps, however, and you can save serious cash on your water heating costs.

To the surprise of many, heating water is the biggest energy expense in the typical home. Most people think the highest cost is heating or cooling the interior air, but this simply is not true. Fortunately, taming your energy use for water heating is fairly simple if you take some basic steps.

One of the reasons heating water is such a big expense has to do with time. Simply put, your water heat works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. When you wake up in the morning and take a shower, the water heater fires up to keep enough hot water in the tank. Obviously, this is necessary. What is not necessary, however, is the number of times the tank fires up during the day when everyone is at school or work. How about at 2 in the morning when everyone is asleep? When your water heater uses energy to keep the pool of water in the tank hot during these periods, it is a pure waste of energy and unnecessary expense on your utility bill.

To defeat this problem, there are two basic steps you should consider. The first is to go with a solar water heater. Unlike solar panels systems for your entire home, water heater are much smaller and more efficient. They produce plenty of hot water throughout the day, so you should be fine. If you take a lot of baths and showers, they can be supplemented with electrical power drawn from the utility company. Even if this happens, you are still using far less utility power than before. The other alternative is to go with a tankless system. These on demand water heaters are more efficient because they do not use energy to heat water in the middle of the night or during other off hour periods. Look for an Energy Star rating to get the most efficient model.

There are other practical steps you can take to cut buck on your energy use without changing your water usage. First, turn down the thermostat on your water heater to 115 degrees. Second, insulate your water heater with a pad you can buy at any home improvement store. Third, insulate the pipes carrying the hot water. Fourth, replace all faucets with low flow products. Fourth, take showers instead of baths – the water usage is much less.

The average residence in the United States uses more than 700 gallons of water a week. Making minor changes to your energy use can go a long way.

Rick Chapo is with SolarCompanies.com, a directory of solar energy companies.

 

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Storage water heaters are by far the most common type of water heater in the U.S. today. Ranging in size from 20 to 80 gallons (or larger) and fueled by electricity, natural gas, propane, or oil, storage water heaters work by heating up water in an insulated tank. When you turn on the hot water tap, hot water is pulled out of the top of the water heater and cold water flows into the bottom to replace it. Because heat is lost through the walls of the storage tank (this is called standby heat loss), energy is consumed even when no hot water is being used. New energy-efficient storage water heaters contain higher levels of insulation around the tank, substantially reducing standby heat loss.

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